Mike Jacobs

Senior energy analyst

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Michael Jacobs is a senior energy analyst with expertise in electricity markets, transmission and renewables integration work. See Mike's full bio.

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Getting Renewables to the Consumer – PJM and FERC Aren’t Helping

Electricity is almost always invisible. Same with the workings of the power grid. But a new decision on energy policy by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is pulling back the curtain and picking a fight with just about everyone just when popular demand for clean energy is pushing our energy system to adapt and grow. For the business types, think of the grid as a trading platform – the rules set who is able to do business on the grid.

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FERC’s Move to Defend Competition Actually Hurts Competition

The FERC  (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) decision expected Thursday will allow PJM to counteract the intended effects of state energy policies supporting nuclear and renewable energy.  But the decision is expected to allow PJM to ignore a larger, and more common state policy protecting monopolies from competition. Read more >

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Lithium Batteries Finally Get their Due with Nobel Prize Win

Today’s award of  the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to the scientists that created lithium ion batteries marks the common heritage of mobile communications (laptops and smart phones), electric vehicles, and a new era in energy storage for our electric system.

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Tesla, Edison, “The Current War,” and What it Has to Do With Getting to Work

Getting to work on time can be enough of a hassle, but imagine if there wasn’t an agreed standard time, or worse if we didn’t have agreement about which side of the street to drive on. This simple but vital task of getting to work on time would be a mess.  Standardizing time zones was a key step in getting trains to run on schedules.

Today’s technology also relies on standards. “Plug-and-play” might be overused, but every appliance and wall socket are designed to meet agreed standards and offer consumers trouble-free connection for electrical products.

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Photo: UK Parliament

What Do Brexit and Energy Markets Have in Common? A lot.

To an observer of both, there are some irresistible parallels between the fiasco called Brexit and the stumbling of the US Mid-Atlantic/Midwest grid operator PJM over climate policy. The deadline is fast approaching for the UK’s long-awaited decision and still there’s no clarity, no plans and no transparency from the policymakers involved. I can’t help but be reminded of another fiasco of a deadline that is fast approaching on US energy plans.

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Photo: UK Parliament
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